Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Why rivet when you can solder? I CAN solder!

Today was day 2 of 4 in my soldering class at Pratt Fine Art Center in Seattle. What a fun day! We learned a few new techniques including sweat joints, soldering wire to sheet and soldering posts to earrings. Our teacher for this class is Roger Horner and he's an excellent teacher and craftsman. He primarily works with hollow ware. He's patient, knowledgeable and informative; I feel fortunate to be learning from him.

Before today's class, I made the components (links and spirals) for the pictured bracelet. Today, I soldered the sterling wire spirals to the sterling links during class. The bracelet has 8 links and 5 of 8 solders worked on my first try. The remaining 3 had to be soldered twice, but all worked fine on the second go round, so I feel really good about them. I also soldered spiral links shut for a necklace similar to one I've posted in the past, but now there will be no chance of the links sliding off their connecting rings.

As I expected, soldering will add another level of professionalism to my jewelry. Rivets, which I have done a lot of in the past, are nice for items that have an industrial quality to them, but soldering will allow me to add more delicate things and better finishing touches to my work.

I've spent the past week shopping for/hunting down items to prepare a soldering station at home. Boric acid, borax, TSP, Sparex, flux, various types of solder, torch tips, titanium picks... the list goes on... I'm almost ready! I'll be moving my workspace from the office to a spare bedroom (which will no longer be a bedroom) later next month. I need the room prior to that for visiting guests, but after that time, we will have 'only' one guest bedroom and a fold out couch in the bonus room when we have company. I'm getting so eager to move in! Right now I have my flex shaft set up in the garage and I'm planning a temporary soldering set up there as well. Oh, how I miss our MN basement and the wonderful workshop Rich had built (for himself) there. I could really use it now. Our WA home doesn't have a basement :( Who knew I would ever need or want a workshop of my own?


  1. Your bracelet looks great! Soldering is such fun isn't it? Don't forget to have good ventilation.


  2. What a fab bracelet - love the spirals. I'm going to take the plunge one day and learn how to solder.
    Kristin :)
    p.s. I still love love love your riveted bracelet

  3. Happy for you!
    It´s cool to solder :)
    kiss kiss

  4. It is cool to solder! Thanks all for your comments. Dont' worry, I won't stop making my riveted bracelets, I do love them, too. But some things just look better soldered, now that I can. I'm off to Pratt center to spend the afternoon soldering up some more wonderful things :)

  5. Excellent work Sandy. So fun to see your soldering progress. It really does take your work to the next level...and your work was beautiful know what I mean, right? I think, as you mentioned, soldering allows you to do so much more. I can't wait to see how your work continues to evolve. Fun to share this journey. :)

  6. Hi Kathleen,
    Thanks for your comments. Yes, I know what you mean:) It is fun to see what you're doing and compare notes, so to speak. I'm looking forward to having a room dedicated to jewelry making - mid-late Sept. I see your pic's and I'm envious!
    Happy Creating!